The Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam will hold the historic first ever match of the African Football League (AFL) when hosts Simba SC take on Egyptian giants Al Ahly at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.
It will be a blockbuster match, with tickets already flying off the shelves quick as one of the biggest and most supported teams in Tanzania takes on the 11-time African champions.
These two sides have met four times before, and they share a head top head record of two wins each. Their most recent meeting was during the 2020-21 CAF Champions League.
Simba, on their way to topping Group A, won the first leg 1-0 at the same venue, with Luis Miquissone scoring the solitary strike. Ahly won the return tie in Cairo by the same margin, Mohamed Sherif’s 32nd minute goal being the difference.
Their first ever meeting was in the same tournament in the 2018-19 season, with Simba winning the first leg by a similar 1-0 margin, Meddie Kagere scoring the winning goal. However, Wekundu wa Msimbazi were put to the sword in the return fixture in Cairo, where they lost 5-0.
Karim Walid Sayed scored a brace for Ahly, with Amr El Solia, Ali Maaloul and Junior Ajayi hitting one each in the massive victory.
Simba come into the tie in Dar confident, as they have never lost nor conceded against the North African heavyweights at home.
More so, they have had a brilliant competitive start to the season. They are the first team in Tanzania to ever win five games in a row in the Premier League, while they have also progressed to the group stage of the Champions League after eliminating Zambian side Power Dynamos.
Ahly on their end, have played two matches in the Egyptian league, winning both. They kicked off their campaign with a 4-0 win over AL Masry, and also beat Ismaily 3-1, conceding only for the first time in five games.
The reigning African champions have also seamlessly made it into the group stages of the Champions League after thrashing Ethiopia’s St George 7-0 on aggregate.
Players to watch:
Simba’s Clatous Chama has been one of their most important players, and the Zambian play-maker is once again expected to be the main man as they face off with Ahly. Chama’s creativity has been a gem for Simba, his assists being key in their performances both locally and in the continent.
Ahly’s South African star Percy Tau will be one to watch for the Red Devils. Having signed during the Pitso Mosimane era from EPL side Brighton, tau has been a key man upfront for Ahly with his goals contributing massively to their success.
Last season during the CAF Champions League, Tau played a key role especially in the semi-final victory over Esperance du Tunis with a brace and an assist in the 3-0 first leg win. In total, he scored five goals in the CAF CL season.
Can he repeat his heroics in the African Football League?